Clint Bowyer spins and Jeff Gordon crashes into the wall trying to avoid him at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Former New Hampshire winners absorb damage in collision RELATED: Previewing Sunday's race MORE: See all 43 cars at New Hampshire " Complete starting lineup LOUDON, N.H. -- Clint Bowyer called it the "damnedest thing I've ever seen." Jeff Gordon didn't disagree. Bowyer ran into the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion's No. 24 Chevrolet as Gordon was backing out of his own garage stall here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota sustained only minor damage to the front end and was eventually able to return to the track. Gordon's car, meanwhile, required significant repairs to the right-rear quarter panel. The repairs were not completed by the end of the session. "The whole weekend hasn't gone very well so far," Gordon said after wrapping up final practice for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). Gordon will start 23rd. He hasn't started outside the top 20 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at the 1.058-mile track since 2005. Bowyer will start 18th. "There are so many people in here," Bowyer said. "Hell, I glanced up ... all that (equipment) was there; that guy backing him out, I think he glanced up for a second but when I got there he wasn't even looking. "There's just so much going on (in the garage). It's a wonder that stuff doesn't happen more often." RELATED: See where Gordon, Bowyer are on the Chase Grid Gordon was able to return for the final practice and finished 22nd-fastest in a session cut approximately 12 minutes short due to rain. A pit cart, used to ferry equipment from the team's transporter to the garage stall, blocked the view of Gordon's car as it rolled out of its stall. WATCH: Gordon, Bowyer get heated in Phoenix in 2012 "The guy that backs me out looked over, I guess he was just starting to back me out ... I crept out there and he cleared me, but the No. 15 ( Bowyer ), probably couldn't really see me because of that pit cart," Gordon said. "I don't know if he kind of glanced away or what, but when he looked back, I was just right there and couldn't go anywhere. It's kind of a combination of, I guess, both of us could take fault in that." "I love seeing my crew chief (Alan Gustafson) get in there and get dirty, but not for that reason. And, that practice went a little bit better than the other one. So, we're gaining on it.” MORE: Breaking down the New Hampshire contenders Gordon, 43, is in his final season with Hendrick Motorsports and will embark on a NASCAR broadcasting career with FOX Sports next season. His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and No. 3 on NASCAR's all-time win list, trailing only Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He is a three-time winner at NHMS. "I don't want to say it can't get worse, but I know it can," Gordon said of the mishap. "So, I'm not going to say that. But hopefully this will all pay off for us tomorrow." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Clint Bowyer talks about Jeff Gordon being an all-time great in NASCAR.
Driver of No. 24 was trying to avoid spinning Clint Bowyer RELATED: Gordon says goodbye to the Brickyard Jeff Gordon ran into trouble on Lap 50 in his final appearance as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon damaged the left-front side of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when he hit the wall at the 2.5-mile superspeedway while trying to avoid a spinning Clint Bowyer . Gordon made light contact with teammate Kasey Kahne 's No. 5 Chevrolet as he veered right to avoid Bowyer . The driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota was racing alongside Kevin Harvick when his car appeared to get loose and went into a spin. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said. "I saw (Clint) Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon, a five-time winner at Indianapolis who spent time racing as a teenager while living in Pittsboro, Indiana, went to pit road twice to get significant repairs. The second time, NBCSN reported that the crew had to cut away part of the left-front fender to prevent it from rubbing the tire, and he was penalized for speeding on pit road. RELATED: Gordon goes home to Pittsboro Gordon returned to the track but, by Lap 66, was scored five laps down. The NASCAR tower asked Gordon to pick up his speed as he was having trouble meeting the minimum 58.11-second lap required of cars in the race. When Gordon couldn't meet the speed, he brought the No. 24 to the garage. "Yeah, we're never going to give up," Gordon said. "We got back out there as fast as we could. The splitter was too torn up on the front and creating lift. The car didn’t have any front downforce and was pushing bad. We're probably going to cut the nose off, put a new nose on and get back out there." Gordon got back out on the track eventually and was scored 42nd in his final run at the Brickyard. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
TRD president: 'Not sure what Michael Waltrip Racing is going to do' With four victories in the last five races, thanks to Kyle Busch , and Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates also holding wins that practically put them into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , Toyota is on a roll. David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday that the manufacturer has its sights set on more teams making the 2015 Chase while also looking ahead to its 2016 lineup. Wilson compared Toyota's comeback to JGR's own, saying the seeds for 2015 success were sown during one of its worst seasons since joining the Sprint Cup Series in 2007. "2014 was one of our worst years since we came into the sport, into the Sprint Cup Series and certainly one of Joe Gibbs Racing 's worst years," Wilson said. "But we started that turnaround last summer literally. That was when we got the big wake-up call. We just missed it on this no ride-height rule. Our engines were a little bit off, and we buckled down. "Really the turnaround started, I trace it to Chicago of last year, almost a full year ago where our performance gradually started getting better. We were able to get the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers into the Chase. Denny nearly won the championship at Miami, but that was, to be fair, more to do with the format of the Chase." Last Sunday, the manufacturer earned its first Brickyard 400 win, the last of the 23 premier series circuits where it hadn't won a race. Rather than resting on its laurels, Toyota is looking to add more cars to NASCAR's playoffs. If Busch moves into the top 30 in points, a quarter of the field will be driving Camrys, but Wilson is shooting for closer to half of the 16 drivers. "I've said as one of three manufacturers that statistically we need to load that funnel at Chicago, arguably with five, six, seven Toyotas," Wilson. Michael Waltrip Racing with Clint Bowyer 's No. 15 team and David Ragan 's No. 55 are the manufacturer's two highest-ranked drivers without wins, sitting 15th and 24th respectively in the standings. Based on points, the No. 15 driver is currently in the provisional Chase Grid, but if Busch makes the top 30, Bowyer will be bounced without a win. As the manufacturer attempts to add those MWR teams to this year's Chase, Wilson wasn't certain about the organization's future with Toyota. "We are talking to a number of organizations about the future, and certainly in the near-term, we're not sure what Michael Waltrip Racing is going to do," Wilson said. "They've yet to announce their plans. Certainly we have had a rich history in the sport together. We got our butts kicked together in 2007, our first year, and you forge very close and personal relationships when you have those trials together. "Whatever they decide to do, we certainly wish nothing but the best for them." Wilson has acknowledged discussions with Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser about the Denver-based team's potential manufacturer move from Chevrolet to Toyota. But the TRD president suggested that Furniture Row, like Toyota itself, was focused on its 2015 Chase efforts. "Regarding Furniture Row Racing , again they haven't announced their plans for next year certainly," Wilson said. "I imagine they're focusing on getting Martin Truex well-positioned in the Chase as well and competitive." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 18 driver gives Toyota its first victory at the Brickyard RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " SHOP: Busch gear "I guess Kyle's back," a disappointed Logano said after the race, uttering perhaps the biggest understatement in the modern era of stock car racing. Harvick finished third, followed by Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Clint Bowyer , Matt Kenseth , Kurt Busch , Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10. To the suggestion that the accident may have provided additional impetus to his comeback, Kyle Busch replied, "I just think that maybe I've found my happy place. "Happy Gilmore (a movie character) – he found his happy place and he just dominated at the end, so maybe I've found that, too. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane for one of the biggest wins of my career. "I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family." A quick inventory of Busch's accomplishments shows that the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota: -- He is the first to sweep both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis. Busch won the Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY race on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney . -- He gave Toyota its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a string of 12 straight wins by Chevrolet at the 2.5-mile track. -- He won the 33rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career. -- He continued his relentless advance toward the top 30 in the standings and consequent eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In what now seems a foregone conclusion, Busch has six races to overcome a 23-point deficit to 30th-place Justin Allgaier . "We're a championship contending team," Busch asserted. "We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously, thanking him for all the success I've had in my life, where I'm at and all my blessings. "To get me back as quick as he did, to persevere through that and that deficit. We're still continuing on. We can't have bad days. I don't know that any of that matters—we're going to bask in this moment here." Perhaps most astounding is Busch's ability to win three straight races at three different race tracks using three different competition packages: low-downforce at Kentucky with a 3.5-inch spoiler; standard 2015 rules at New Hampshire with a six-inch spoiler; and high-drag at Indianapolis with a nine-inch spoiler and one-inch wicker. Logano fell just short of giving team owner Roger Penske, a 16-time Indianapolis 500 winner, his first Sprint Cup victory at The Brickyard. RELATED: Logano says, 'I'm glad he's back, but geez' "You come to Indy, and it's all about the win," said Logano, who took the checkered flag in the season-opening Daytona 500 this year. "You either win or finish last. It doesn't really matter anywhere in-between. At least that's the way I race when I come to a track like this. I feel like, at Daytona and Indy, it's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks. "Overall, it was a good day, but second hurts. It always does." Jeff Gordon 's last race at The Brickyard as a full-time Cup driver—and his hopes for an unprecedented sixth victory at the 2.5-mile track—suffered an irreparable blow on Lap 50. Racing to the inside of Harvick, Bowyer's Toyota got loose and spun. Gordon checked up, trying to avoid Bowyer's car, but the No. 24 Chevrolet swerved out of control into the outside wall in Turn 3. The resulting damage ended any hope of another Brickyard trophy for the four-time Sprint Cup champion. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said as his crew worked feverishly in the garage to repair the car. "I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon finished 42nd and lost one spot to 11th in the series standings. Without a win this season, Gordon is in jeopardy of missing the Chase and can ill-afford another day like Sunday. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
A statistical look ahead to the 21st race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania going into the WINDOWS 10 400 on August 2 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). POCONO-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.421, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 10.246, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best · 332 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.733, second-fastest · 2659 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0), second-most · 774 Quality Passes, seventh-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 MICROSOFT Chevrolet) · Two wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.900, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 14.002, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.6, ninth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.237, eighth-fastest · 2286 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3), eighth-most · 727 Quality Passes, eighth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 15.500, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 14.826, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 94.2, eighth-best · 176 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.224, ninth-fastest · 2262 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6), 10th-most · 712 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Six wins, 19 top fives, 31 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 9.650, second-best · Average Running Position of 9.916, series-best · Driver Rating of 103.5, fourth-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.625, fifth-fastest · 2777 Laps in the Top 15 (76.9), third-most · 885 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.889, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 10.844, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 108.3, series-best · 437 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.806, series-fastest · 2543 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3), series-most · 685 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10.600, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.743, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, 11th-best · 63 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.159, 10th-fastest · 2277 Laps in the Top 15 (63.0), ninth-most · 789 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet) · Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 10.500, third-best · Average Running Position of 10.487, third-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 273 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.708, third-fastest · 2774 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8), fourth-most · 861 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Aquafina Chevrolet) · Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 18.750, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.622, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 92.1, 10th-best · 306 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436, sixth-fastest · 2199 Laps in the Top 15 (60.9), 11th-most · 804 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · One win, three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 13.400, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.786, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 90.8, 12th-best · 96 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 161.894, 13th-fastest · 852 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1), 13th-most · 306 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Suave Men Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.000, series-best · Average Running Position of 12.672, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.690, fourth-fastest · 230 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9), seventh-most · 87 Quality Passes, 13th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, three top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 16.583, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 13.811, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 88.9, 13th-best · 61 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.097, 12th-fastest · 1190 Laps in the Top 15 (56.6), 12th-most · 456 Quality Passes, 11th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · One win, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.500, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 11.426, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.3, seventh-best · 36 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135, 11th-fastest · 2689 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4), fifth-most · 883 Quality Passes, second-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.600, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.223, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.6, fifth-best · 99 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.319, seventh-fastest · 2619 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5), sixth-most · 880 Quality Passes, third-most Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 29 0 0 7 11 2 13.2 91.9 2 Joey Logano 13 2 1 3 5 1 15.6 88.9 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 1 2 9 13 1 15.2 92.6 4 Jimmie Johnson 27 3 3 11 18 1 9.6 106.9 5 Martin Truex Jr 19 0 1 3 7 0 15.1 80.4 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 1 3 4 0 13.7 90.8 7 Matt Kenseth 31 0 0 3 11 1 15.7 86.7 8 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 12 16 5 14.4 105.9 9 Jamie McMurray 25 1 0 0 7 3 19.3 73.1 10 Denny Hamlin 19 3 4 9 13 2 11.8 108.3 11 Jeff Gordon 45 2 6 19 31 5 10 103.5 12 Ryan Newman 27 2 1 9 14 3 12.4 95.3 13 Paul Menard 17 0 0 0 2 1 23.6 64.6 14 Kasey Kahne 23 2 2 5 8 3 17.6 92.1 15 Clint Bowyer 19 0 0 2 8 0 14.6 82.8 16 Carl Edwards 21 0 2 5 8 1 15.5 94.2 * – Based on last 21 races at Pocono Raceway (2005 – 2015). Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th Justin Allgaier 317 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 314 -3 32 Kyle Busch 4 294 -23 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 266 -51 34 Alex Bowman 0 245 -72 35 Michael Annett 0 230 -87 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 205 -112 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -131 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -193 39 Jeb Burton 0 111 -206 40 Alex Kennedy 0 71 -246 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Pocono Raceway Data Season Race #: 21 of 36 (08-02-15) Track Size : 2.5-miles Banking/Turn 1 : 14 degrees Banking/Turn 2 : 8 degrees Banking/Turn 3 : 6 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,740 feet Backstretch Length : 3,055 feet Shortstretch Length : 1,780 feet Race Length : 160 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Pocono Denny Hamlin ............................ 108.3 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 106.9 Kurt Busch ................................ 105.9 Jeff Gordon .............................. 103.5 Tony Stewart ............................... 97.6 Kyle Larson ................................ 95.7 Ryan Newman ............................. 95.3 Carl Edwards .............................. 94.2 Dale Earnhardt Jr ........................ 92.6 Kasey Kahne .............................. 92.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.063 secs, 08-01-14 2014 race winner : Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Chevrolet 127.411 mph, (03:08:22), 08-03-14 Track qualifying record: Kyle Larson , Chevrolet 183.438 mph, 49.610 secs, 08-03-14 Track race record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 06-12-11 At Pocono Raceway: History · Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty , Dodge, 115.593 mph, 08/04/1974. · The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011. · 2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway. Starts · There have been 75 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. · 327 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway; 229 in more than one. · Ricky Rudd leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in starts at Pocono with 55. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts (eighth most all-time) at Pocono; followed by Tony Stewart with 33 starts. · Denny Hamlin (19 starts) leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.632. Poles · 40 drivers have posted Coors Light poles at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader with five each; Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead all active drivers with three each. · Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph. · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Pocono with three; fall 1984 and both races in 1985. · Two active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep) and Joey Logano (fall 2011 and spring 2012). · Youngest Pocono pole winner: Joey Logano (08/07/2011 – 21 years, 2 months, 14 days). · Oldest Pocono pole winner: David Pearson (06/10/1984 – 49 years, 5 months, 19 days). · Kyle Larson (8/03/2014) and Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Pocono Raceway. Wins · 33 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, led by Jeff Gordon with six wins. · Seven active drivers have multiple wins at Pocono: Jeff Gordon (6), Denny Hamlin (4), Jimmie Johnson (3), Carl Edwards , Kasey Kahne , Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart (each have 2). · Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway all-time, including three consecutive by Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987). · Three of the seven drivers to win consecutive races at Pocono are active: Jimmie Johnson (2004 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep and 2009 fall and 2010 spring races) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (2014 sweep). · Youngest Pocono winner: Joey Logano (06/10/2012 – 22 years, 0 months, 17 days). · Oldest Pocono winner: Harry Gant (06/17/1990 – 50 years, 5 months, 7 days). · Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Pocono in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 17: Jeff Gordon (six), Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (two), Kasey Kahne (one), Geoff Bodine (one) and Terry Labonte (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 31 victories; followed by Ford with 21 and Toyota has three. · 13 of the 75 (17.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Joey Logano (June, 2012). · 15 of the 74 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the first starting position; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson (June, 2013). · The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway. · 24 of the 75 (32%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the first starting position and nine from second-place. · 53 of the 75 (70.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Five of the 75 (6.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Pocono is 29th, by Carl Edwards in the spring of 2005. · One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway: Denny Hamlin (06/11/06). · Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards are the only two active drivers to win at Pocono in their first appearances. · Matt Kenseth leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono without visiting Victory Lane at 31; followed by Kevin Harvick with 29. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six; followed by Kurt Busch with five. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19; followed by Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart with 12 each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 31; followed by Tony Stewart with 22. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 9.630. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in
Pair start building relationship, talk upcoming races after crew chief swap DARLINGTON, S.C. – Crew chief Billy Scott and driver Clint Bowyer wasted no time in starting to build their relationship as teammates, hitting Darlington Raceway for testing the same day Michael Waltrip Racing officials announced a crew chief swap for its’ two-team NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation. Bowyer ’s No. 15 team was one of four taking part in Tuesday’s Goodyear tire test at the historic 1.366-mile venue and was one of 12 participating in Wednesday’s open team test. Scott, previously the crew chief for the organization’s No. 55 Toyota, is now overseeing the Bowyer entry; Brian Pattie, who had served as Bowyer ’s crew chief, is now with the No. 55 group and driver. The pit crews for the two teams remain unchanged, although Scott said there were some individuals in other positions that made the switch as well. Wednesday’s open team test provided teams the opportunity to prepare for the Bojangles’ Southern 500, scheduled for Sept. 6. “There are different aspects that have been kind of building up to it,” Scott said of the crew chief change. “The timing, even though it’s been short notice, coming to the test here with cars that were prepared differently (and) going to Michigan before the off week is short planning, but I think the timing is good that we do have the test here for the 15 and next week for the 55 (at Richmond) to give everybody a chance to work together. “The off week (which follows this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway ) will be a good chance to review that and make some tweaks.” Bowyer will be the fifth driver with whom Scott has worked this season as team co-owner Michael Waltrip , Brian Vickers , Brett Moffitt and David Ragan have spent time behind the wheel of the No. 55 entry. Vickers, the team’s primary driver, was sidelined after just two starts due to a recurrence of blood clots while Ragan has been in the car for the five Sprint Cup Series events. Bowyer and Pattie have worked side-by-side since 2012 at MWR, winning three times and qualifying for NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012-13. Currently 17 th in the points standings, Bowyer ’s managed just three top 10s this season and has led only two laps. “Hopefully having that experience (with different drivers), learning somebody new and adapting on the fly will help us,” said Scott, who added that building a relationship with Bowyer will be no different than building one with any of his former drivers. “That’s always evolving even for guys that have been together for years; you can always improve on that,” he said. “But … we’ve been in meetings together for three-and-a-half years already and he’s a pretty easy-going guy so hopefully we should pick up pretty quick.” It won’t be necessarily a change in the direction of the team, but just a different approach perhaps. “The communication at … Michael Waltrip Racing has always been very fluent among all the teams whether it’s been two or three,” said Scott. “Everyone’s worked on the same goals … I think maybe just having a different perspective and just some small details might be enough to just switch it up, get that little spark.” Bowyer , taking a lunch time break from testing, said MWR has “to make our cars better … to give (Billy) a chance. “Communication can always be better and that’s what we’re working on with this change,” he said. “Something’s needed. It’s not like he is coming in, having to learn everything. We’re only a two-car team so they worked pretty tight anyway. My engineer, Dax (Gerringer) is a guy that I’ve work with really closely with since I’ve been at MWR. I’m just looking forward to gaining a new asset, a new voice. We’ve certainly got a lot of work to do.” Other drivers taking part in Wednesday’s test: Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Greg Biffle ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ), Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ), Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing ) and Jeb Burton ( BK Racing ). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bruce: Challenges run deep for two-car organization After 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Clint Bowyer finds himself 17th in the points standings, a position that's better than a lot of folks in the garage today. By picking up one or more spots between now and the fall race at Richmond, Bowyer would likely find himself in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Of course, a win would all but seal the deal as well. But there's a long stretch of lonesome asphalt between the Michael Waltrip Racing driver's current residence and Victory Lane these days. Competitive isn't a term that's been over-used this season at MWR when it comes to the organization's two Sprint Cup Series teams. Bowyer has managed only three top-10 finishes, no top-fives, and has led just two laps in 2015. The No. 15 team has been MWR's best this season, and that tells you all you need to know about the current status of the Cornelius, North Carolina-based group, co-owned by Michael Waltrip and Rob Kaufmann. The group's second entry, the No. 55, has been fighting to find its footing since the beginning of the season, with no apparent success. Primary driver Brian Vickers has been sidelined by yet another bout of blood clots -- his return isn't expected this season -- and the team's roster has featured three different drivers in his absence. David Ragan , the former Front Row Motorsports driver who took a short stint driving in relief of the injured Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing , is the most recent to settle into the seat, and only time will tell if stability provides any benefits. On Tuesday, MWR announced a crew chief swap between its two teams, moving Billy Scott from the No. 55 to the 15 and Brian Pattie from the 15 to the 55. Pattie's been to Victory Lane -- once with former Sprint Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya and three times with Bowyer . Scott, the former lead engineer for the No. 55, was handed the reins of that team after the conclusion of the 2013 season. It's a different approach, if not exactly a new one. Crew chief changes are one of the first lines of defense a team tries when results fail to meet expectations. Team chemistry is one of the few things that can't be measured on a set-up plate or with a template. No one knew that pairing crew chief Cole Pearn with driver Martin Truex Jr . this year at Furniture Row Racing would produce substantial results. Yet Truex just ended a 69-race winless streak, sits second in the points standings and has led the most laps in the past four Sprint Cup Series races. But while Pearn has proven to be a big plus for Furniture Row, his addition isn't the only reason behind the turnaround. The team is also putting fast race cars on the track each week. Competitive cars. MWR currently is not. Given that some drivers have been unable to find their comfort zone with the new rules package for 2015, perhaps that's worth consideration as well. But no one, save for the unheralded Brett Moffitt , has managed to crack the top 10 in the team's No. 55, suggesting that the problem goes deeper than the drivers' ability to adapt to the new less-horsepower, lower downforce platform. "We've got to make our cars better," Bowyer said during a break in Wednesday's open test at Darlington Raceway . It's a refrain the 36-year-old has made on more than one occasion this year. Asked who was ultimately responsible for such matters, Bowyer took a side street if not the high road, choosing instead to confirm how much he's looking forward to working with Scott. "Yeah, but we did change crew chiefs. … Billy’s a quiet guy but he's a fun person. He's a very, very smart person, very capable of doing this job," Bowyer said. Changing crew chiefs might solve some of the MWR's ills. It remains to be seen whether it will cure the disease. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver has plummeted in standings since runner-up 2012 finish Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Moment From the time Clint Bowyer announced, "It's got a dingy!", we knew this wasn't going to be the garden variety fatherhood. So when Bowyer was asked recently whether fatherhood had knocked him out of his normal offseason routine, we should have expected a quintessentially Clint answer. "It's not been normal," Bowyer said with a laugh. "He (expletive) his pants the other night and it was the most not normal thing I've ever seen in my life. I was gagging. (Lorra's) laughing at me. I'm like, 'You got to get in here, it's horrible!' And he's just sitting there laughing." It was a light moment between Clint and his wife, Lorra, and their now 4-month-old son Cash. And it was just the type of funny story that team co-owner Michael Waltrip hopes we'll hear more of this season from the guy who is just as fast with a quip as he is driving a race car. That's because last season was rough for Bowyer , and some of the fun disappeared. His 19th-place finish in the final standings driving the No. 15 Toyota for MWR was his worst showing in nine full-time Cup seasons. It was a far cry from when he finished second to Brad Keselowski in 2012. "We knew we were in trouble," Bowyer said of last season. "I was just barely getting by to get into the Chase -- and was going to make it -- but a part failure at Atlanta threw us out. That's not any way or shape that we wanted to be in going into a Chase. I wanted to be able to contend for a championship, and I knew if we made it in, we wouldn't go very far." Failing to make the Chase was a wake-up call for a driver who had finished in the top 10 in the final standings on five different occasions. It also gave Bowyer the opportunity to be, as he said, put out of his misery so he could focus on getting ready for 2015. A big part of what has helped him focus on the 2015 season has been becoming a father. "(Fatherhood) slows you down, there's no question it slows you down," Bowyer said. "Your focus is all on simple things. Your life isn't as complex as it once was. You don't have time to pick your head up and take in all the rest of it. You stay focused on your family and your child and racing. It really does simplify your life quite a bit because you're not drawn to so many distractions." Perhaps that type of focus is what helped Kevin Harvick during his championship season. There was a memorable photo of Harvick sitting next to son Keelan on the track after winning at Homestead with their backs against the wall and each giving a thumbs-up sign. Going back to 2013, it was Matt Crafton who won the first of back-to-back NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships in the year his first child was born. So maybe there is a slight correlation between becoming a parent and being able to perform better at a job, instead of the opposite, which is what some might expect. Count Waltrip as a firm believer in it. "It certainly did that for me when I had my daughter," Waltrip said about gaining a renewed sense of focus. "My opinion is you become more of a complete person so you're more comfortable with who you are. You see your kid and you see that race car, and you're like, 'I'm going to race the heck out of that car and then I'm going to come back and hang out with my little son.' " Like Waltrip said, MWR will need Bowyer to be focused for the 2015 season. Waltrip said there was still some ad inventory to be sold on Bowyer's car, and there's the usual pressure of needing to perform well in order to satisfy current or potential clients. Bowyer knows it's important to make last season seem like a blip on the radar instead of the norm. "It's crucial for me, for 5-hour Energy, for all our partners, for everyone involved at MWR, that this is a rebound year and we get back to our winning ways and where we once were," Bowyer said. "It is very, very crucial that that happens." With all that pressure, though, the hope is that little Cash will bring Clint back to center. So far, so good. "He seems more fun and I know that's crazy because he's always been that guy," Waltrip said of Bowyer . "But you can just see it in his eyes. He's a happy man. That's why I'm so thankful that his energy for the team and where we're at as an organization is where he is mentally. Because we need that fun Clint guy, and we got him, and I think his son is a big part of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule